I briefly mentioned this workout structure in the “5 Training Tips” section of the Tips to Melt Body Fat & Build Muscle Fast article. What is complex training? How can complex training improve your everyday life and/ or sports performance?
Complex training is one of the most advanced and versatile training methods. Targeted towards athletes, this sports performance enhancer has shown signs of increased speed, explosive power, agility and even strength. Complex training coordinates standard exercises and advanced movements with plyometric exercises and could possibly be the bridge to your physical success.
Overtime, complex training has become one of those “grandfather methods,” meaning this concept is losing races to successful trends such as bodyweight and high intensity interval training. Personally I agree, however, I believe this concept is the parent strategy to bodyweight training, high intensity interval training and similar variants.
Then you might be wondering “Why should I care about complex training?” That’s a great question! Well, in the early 2000s this trend took off, thousands of researchers conducted hundreds of studies, ultimately concluding that athletes were able to jump higher and farther, throw farther, run faster, drop body fat percentages and became undoubtedly stronger. For example, 2 years later in 2002 The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine published an article briefly reviewing some of the research that was out there. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963241/
What’s changed since then? Over 10 years ago, complex training was simply performing any type of resistance training (bodyweight or w/ weights) followed by the plyometric exercise variant. So if you did a set of squats your next set of exercises would be jump squats. If you lifted weights for the resistance portion of exercising it was advisable to rest a full 4 minutes before beginning the plyometric exercise. Both resistance and plyometric exercises could be performed with, without or a mixture of lifting weights and using your body weight. This concept was proven to show results, but now, for example:
Take it even further with squats – jump squats – then wall sits or other static variations.
Before I go a little deeper, understand that there are two main types of complex training. We have “complex training” then there’s “Reverse Complex Training.” Reverse complex training is simply formatted using the opposite workout structure. Where you would perform the plyometric exercise first then finish the set with a resistance exercise.
But before we attempt to resurrect any form of work out we need something that will stand out. How can we build on complex training and make it even better?
By adding in isometric exercises, of course, complex training already utilized two forms of dynamic exercises. Now if we factor in a form of static exercise that not only builds strength and balance but can lead to burning fat we might be on to something here.
In case you forgot or didn’t know. Isometric exercises work in compliance with the eccentric and concentric muscle actions, in which case your muscle fibers don’t lengthen or shorten under tension, there’s still an open debate about whether or not they do both. Either way, there are 3 main types of isometric exercises which are: using your own bodyweight or force, structural items (like immovable objects,) or weights. The idea is to hold the exercise at a time when the most tension is applied to your muscles. Wall sits and planks are the most prominent examples of isometric exercises.
The only downside is bound by creativity. Meaning that from all the exercise databases out there, you won’t find an isometric exercise that encompasses a variation of the same resistance or plyometric exercise. So we will either have to get creative and forge our own, or settle for isometric exercises that work the same muscle groups as the other two exercises. But by adding in these static exercises we are further depleting our glycogen storage, which will lead to increases in strength, endurance and strength endurance.
If and when you hit a wall or plateau, perform complex training, but don’t feel you are limited. Add that extra exercise and you will notice your workouts are much more effective and take up less time. You won’t be disappointed.
- When the pressure of the world is on your shoulders – Do squats
- When you have a goal – Do jump squats until you can jump high enough to reach it.
- When you hit a wall – Do wall sits
This way you will always be stronger than you were yesterday.